Comments about ‘Letter: The draft and health care’

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Published: Saturday, July 14 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

How many times is the military/defense mentioned in Article 1, Section 8? How many times is healthcare mentioned in the entire Constitution?

One of the duties of the Federal Government is to defend this country. One of the duties of each citizen is to assist in that great responsibility. Telling us that because Congress used the "draft" to assure that we would have a sufficiently large military, that Congress should also be able to force us to buy health insurance mocks the Constitution and the lives of those who served to keep us free.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Excellent letter, Eric. However, those who registered for the draft and were actually drafted, as I was, did have a choice, which many pursued in protest of the Vietnam war: move to Canada. I stayed, served my time, and ultimately reaped the benefits of the GI bill, which helped pay for my graduate education and enabled me to buy my first home. Now, if I need it, I can receive health care at a VA hospital.

Perhaps those who so adamantly oppose the individual mandate in the PPACA should consider the same route as the draft dodgers: move to Canada, where, ironically, they would get to enjoy the benefits of socialized medicine.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Incredibly simplistic comparison. Just because a government CAN do something, does that mean it SHOULD? Just because government CAN do something because it's legal, does that mean it SHOULD go ahead with it even though it's unethical? Eric is implying that the draft and Obamacare are equivalent and should be accepted without a murmur.

In my view, the draft is nothing short of forced slavery. Even voluntary enlistment turns into slavery because the member can no longer change his/her mind until the enlistment period is over. Doing otherwise can result in imprisonment. And before you go too far, I am a veteran, so I know whereof I speak. I served with draftees during the Vietnam war era.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Another excellent letter.

@ Mike Richards, Vietnam never attacked us. We weren't "defending" our country. Health care wasn't mentioned in the Constitution because health care, just like the air force, hadn't been invented yet. Had the Constitution been drafted today, don't you think that air force and health care would be mentioned?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Eric is implying that the draft and Obamacare are equivalent and should be accepted without a murmur."

You're right. Eric's wrong in that respect. People should murmur about the draft however folks shouldn't murmur about health care. It's clearly for the general welfare. That's a lil fact that repubs seem to always miss. If health care isn't for the general welfare of society then what is?

The draft is another one of those things. Bush and Romney found ways to dodge it. If folks don't want to buy health insurance then simply pay the fee and move on with life. Your costs (when you get sick) will then be passed onto the rest of society.

Repubs need to ask themselves, is that fair?

Repubs need to also ask themselves, what alternative plan do we have? Tort reform and "trading across state lines" isn't a plan.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Mike Richards made the point I wanted to make and why Eric's analogy was flawed. National defense is a responsibility of the Federal Government defined clearly in the Constitution. What was the point of the union of individual colonies if not primarily to have a common defense (among a few other reasons)? I have yet to see where providing healthcare is a Federal responsibility.
What disturbs me is that the "affordable care act" has nothing to do with healthcare. If it did then why would it not authorize funding to hire one Doctor or Nurse but authorize 60,000 additional IRS agents? I'd like to see one person make a rational, logical and statistics based argument that a person 18-29 years old even needs health insurance. Yes, maybe a tiny percentage will have a catastrophic injury or illness but that's no reason to force all of that group into purchasing health insurance. (I'm excluding pregnancy/ childbirth which is a pretty common event that most people should be able to pay for- you can always finance it).

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

Maverick,

Please read your copy of the Constitution:

Article 1, Section 8:

" . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations; . . ."

Vietnam is covered. Is it because Vietnam is far away that you dismiss the atrocities committed against her people? 58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam. 3,800,000 Vietnamese were killed during and shortly after the war. That country was suffering "Offences against the Law of Nations".

91% of soldiers who served in Vietnam said that they were glad to have served.

74% said that they would serve again, even with the same outcome.

66% of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers.

66% of the men who served in WWII were drafted.

87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem.

If you wish, the Air Force can go back to being part of the Army.

Heathcare is STILL not an enumerated duty of the Federal Government, no matter what your feelings are towards Vietnam.

Mixing the military draft with non-existent authority to require health insurance is disingenuous.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Mike Richards:

To aasuage your constitutional qualms, think of health care as a form of national defense. Americans are much more at risk--physically and financially--from poor health than from any military or terrorist threat.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@ Curmudgeon - I think a form of national suicide would be a more apt statement. Since the 1400 page piece of legislation says that the (unelected) Secretary of HHS "may" or "shall determine" about 500 times how about this: "The Secretary shall decree that anyone who has subsidized health insurance/ and or subsidized healthcare may not have a cable/internet package or any other unnecessary luxuries"

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

>Mike Richards
The constitution does provide for a military. I do think the draft was constitutional. I also think it was a terrible idea, but the Constitution does not forbid bad ideas. I got lucky; the war ended before my number came up. If not, I was prepared to join the navy.
Provide for the general welfare. That's the constitutional authority for the insurance mandate. As it happens, it's a very good idea. Those are also not forbidden.

red state pride
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This is my last comment but to Eric: if the General Welfare clause gives Congress the right to pass any legislation it deems necessary for the " general welfare" (in it's estimation btw) then what was the purpose of the rest of the Constitution? They could have written one sentence and left it at that.
I say that if the Federal Government wants to take over the remaining 40% of healthcare that it doesn't currently control then it should build it's own hospitals, hire it's own Doctors and Nurses, buy it's own equipment and tax the citizenry commensurately to pay for it- but don't just do a defacto takeover of private insurance companies and dictate to Doctors and Nurses what their labor is worth and wreck what's left in the private healthcare industry.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

I wish I could get excited about triangle hats and teaparties but they so mis interpret the Constitution. Even real experts have been debating it's meanings for over 200 years. Isn't this more about profitting on healthcare? Make em sick then gouge em to make em well. This is why capitalism is failing, the common citizen has nothing left to give. It is the common citizen that defends the country. It is the common citizen that pays the way. It is the common citizen that creates demand and who is the catalyst for the economy. It is the common citizen that are the backbone of this nation. It's high time we stop worshipping the man that can't even beat a camel through an eye of a needle.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Eric,

What is the difference between general welfare and private welfare?

Will the Army send out a tank to protect my private property, or will it tell me to read Amendment 10 where protection for MY private property is left to the States or to the People?

Will the federal government pave my driveway (private welfare), or will it only build freeways and other roads to enable interstate commerce (general welfare)?

Will the federal government involve itself in testing drugs (to promote science, i.e. General Welfare) or will it send a doctor out to diagnose my headache and a nurse to give me an aspirin (private welfare).

It's obvious to all that General Welfare does not include personal healthcare any more than "postal roads" includes my driveway or that defense requires the military to defend my private property unless that private property is invaded by enemies of the state.

Twisting and turning the meaning of the Constitution is a favorite parlor game for some, but when Congress does it, our liberties are destroyed.

When Obama touts Obamacare, truth-in-advertising should require him to tell us exactly how much his TAX will cost us.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

This article echos my thoughts. Drafting a person to go to war is much more freedom robbing taxing them if they don't have health insurance. Especially when one considers how often our federal government gets us involved in fighting dubious, useless wars.

One thing the writer of this article neglected to mention. The power to tax to promote the general welfare IS given to congress by the constitution. The constitution does not give any branch of the federal government the power to draft people to go to war.

the truth
Holladay, UT

RE: The Real Maverick

You are wrong, there was health care over two hundred years ago, in fact there has been health care as long man has existed.

Benjamin Franklin even got his rich friends together (NOT the government) to build a hospital in Philadelphia.

They were not so primitive as the left wants to pretend (or rewrite history).

Also, the draft was re-instituted by the democrats! (Yes, the same group that instituted reservations and internment camps, and re-instituted segregation in the military during Wilson's(D) presidency, drones spying on american citizens and their businesses, full body scans at airports, enforcing of pc language and behavior)

I am not sure what this letter is arguing for.

But he seems saying since we have lost some freedom we should be agreeable to losing more.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Vietnam is covered."

No it isn't.

"To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations"

That's not Vietnam. check your history book again.

"58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam"

Because we sent the majority there.

"3,800,000 Vietnamese were killed during and shortly after the war."

How many of them were killed by Americans? How many Geneva Accords did we break? Were we obeying the Law of Nations (by the way, where is this Law of Nations written? I want to know. Are you referring to the Geneva Accords were destroyed when intruding upon Vietnam?)

"Mixing the military draft with non-existent authority to require health insurance is disingenuous."

Using the clause in this section about felonies and piracies is completely disrespectful towards the Vietnam War. It's spitting upon the graves of the founding fathers and those who gave their lives in Vietnam. If it were so, what's preventing us from attacking every single country, including our allies, who have "felonies" and "piracies?"

If this were the case, we'd already be in Mexico, Iran, N. Korea, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, France, Russia, Brazil, etc.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Again, we hear strong opposition to someones plan, in this case Obamas.

Or was it the Conservatives plan? Or Romneys?

Anyone who thinks we don't need to do something about the meteoric rise in health care costs has their head in the sand.

Obamacare may not be the best answer, but those who oppose it typically say

"we need to repeal and replace"

and they never tell you what they will "replace" it with.

Based on the history of inaction, one just might conclude that those on the right see no reason for a change.

(And have no problem spending $trillions$ to "liberate the Iraqi people")

BRM
Pleasant Grove, Utah

The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict government. Now that we seem to have limits on the commerce clause I worry about the power of government to tax. My worry is not that government can continue to raise our taxes (if we don't like it we can vote them out), but the power to selectively tax people (like taxing only the rich). By raising taxes only on a small group of citizens they won't have enough votes to kick them out.

Kimber
Salt Lake City, UT

It is important to know that the health care bill does not force people to get health insurance if they cannot afford it. Just as a person is required by buy auto insurance if they drive a vehicle in case of an accident, a person that can afford health insurance will be required to buy it (or get it through their employment) in case of sickness. If they cannot afford it, there is help available. The tax penalty for those who choose not to do this is similar to the penalty for those who choose not to buy auto insurance and it is fair because the rest of us pay for those people in our taxes.
A volunteer for the ACA

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

All this sound a fury! If the AHC survives long enough we will all come to see its value. The truth is that this new law just keeps health insurance companies from implementing coverage practices and anti competitive policies that are not in the public interest. This law has been unfairly demonized by politicians and others largely for partisan political reasons. The sad truth is that the Republican Party (and not a few Democrats) are a wholly owned subsidiary of the health insurance industry.

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